British Prime Minister wants to cut all avoidable plastic within 25 years

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On the same day as Theresa May has spoken of the "environmental scourge" of plastic waste while launching the government's 25 Year Environment Plan (11 January), the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced a new initiative in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) aiming to tackle plastic pollution while transforming the United Kingdom plastics system.

May said: "We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals into rivers was ever the right thing to do".

It will also aim to make sure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable, increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging and increase the recycled content to drive demand for recycled plastic material. I am pleased to be leading this holistic initiative which will transform the UK's plastics system.

A holistic initiative is now in development by sustainable production charity WRAP in a joint partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

In the 25 year Environment Plan that was released earlier today (11 January), the government pledged to work with WRAP to introduce plastic free aisles in supermarkets.

Reacting to May's proposal today a WWF spokesperson agreed with the idea behind banning single-use plastic bags, saying: "We want to see a ban on single-use plastic by 2025, and more urgent action on dirty air, climate change and protecting our precious natural heritage".

WRAP's CEO Marcus Glover said that this expansive approach is important: "So far the solutions to plastic waste have been piecemeal". "Whatever we do [in regards to plastic packaging] we must not risk increasing food waste".

"There must be better recycling systems, which avoid confusion for citizens and have better economies of scale", said Rob Opsomer of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Dame Ellen MacArthur added: "Creating a circular economy for plastics amounts to a huge opportunity for the economy as well as providing a longer-term benefit for the environment. Achieving it will require close collaboration and significant commitment from industry, government, and society at large".

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched an initiative to help "turn the tide on the UK's growing issue of plastic waste".

In an effort to get a grip on this issue, Theresa May earlier today announced a further clamp down on 5p plastic bags with a new proposal to extend the charge that now affects supermarkets to stores with fewer than 250 employees.